DEATH HAS been a mystery. The lifeless body of a friend has all the appearance
of profound slumber. But it speedily undergoes chemical changes which ultimately
destroy it. The cage is empty, its tenant has escaped elsewhere.
"How shall we bury you?" asked his friend, as Socrates was about to drink the
hemlock. "Just as you please, if only you can catch me, and I do not escape
you," said Socrates, "for when I have drunk the poison I shall no longer remain
with you, but shall depart to some happy state of the blessed."
A greater than Socrates assured His disciples that when He was crucified He
would pass into another state of life. His subsequent reappearances created in
those who loved Him an invincible enthusiasm; they saw that death was a step
upward into greater life.
Some who have experienced the earlier stages of death, and then revived, have
given an account of what, at the time, had seemed to be their last moments on
earth. Their story is tranquillising and encouraging.
But we learn much more from those who, having finally crossed over, are able to
return and describe their falling asleep and the subsequent awakening beyond
My father once said:
wish you could come here for a week and remember it on returning to earth. But
there is a subconscious awareness, even with some who have heard nothing about
life on our side, but who are doing their best, notwithstanding absence of
I am certain that when they come to the end of physical life they have some
intimation of what awaits them here, and this brings them a more wonderful
knowledge than they had ever dreamed of, even if it comes only a few seconds
before their transition. It is something like approaching a bridge in a thick
fog, and the fog lifts suddenly so that the opposite bank is clearly seen. You
will have known instances where those previously passed over have been seen by
the dying, who exclaim, "I can see so-and-so." It seems unfortunate that so
often there is no physical strength left to tell what they see. But I think they
C.D.T.: Did you yourself see just at the last?
Father: (The reply was given with unusual solemnity and emphasis). I did. I felt
not one presence only, but several. At the time one does not reason about it,
and may be unable to ask oneself why it is so, being able only to realise, "They
Speaking of his earliest consciousness after death my father remarked on his
surprise at seeing trees, flowers and birds. It must be remembered that his
passing had been as sudden as it was unexpected. Owing to what seemed a
temporary indisposition he had spent the day in bed. The doctor saw nothing
serious in his condition, and he was able to do some writing. Towards the close
of the afternoon my mother left him alone for a while and on returning found him
in the act of expiring.
He tells me that, following his surprise at seeing trees and flowers when
waking, he had a hazy recollection of a proposed absence from home. It occurred
to him that he must have already made the journey and commenced the visit for,
had he been in his own room, neither flowers nor trees would have been visible.
Presently he rose and walked out among the trees. In the distance he observed a
house standing on a grassy slope. While wondering as to his whereabouts he was
joined by one who, in friendly conversation, made him realise what had taken
Not long afterwards he was enabled to return and view his earthly home. He could
see the familiar rooms and realise the sorrow we were feeling. He longed to be
able to prove to us, what he was aware we all believed - namely, that he
still lived and that his love for us was unchanged. Fourteen years later there
came the opportunity for which he had been waiting: I commenced a course of
My sister died shortly after a serious operation. Being aware of her approaching
transition, she discussed it calmly with me during our last interview. Having to
some extent shared my psychic studies, she knew that she would be able to
communicate with me, and this knowledge softened for both of us the pain of
Some months later she described to me her awakening in the new life beyond
death. It was, in substance, as follows:
From where she found herself reclining she looked through an open doorway into a
garden of flowers, and realised that she was in the home which had been
described by her father in his communications. While gazing out upon the scene
of beauty and light she became aware that her father was standing near. They did
not immediately speak in words, but it seemed to her that they were thinking
to each other, exchanging ideas mentally without spoken words. When,
presently, he spoke she found it delightful to hear his voice again, and to be
able to reply in the old, familiar way.
She added, that to find herself there did not seem so strange as might have been
expected. Memories came to her of having been there previously; the place was
not wholly unfamiliar. Later, she learnt that at times, during sleep, her soul
had visited and grown accustomed to the place; although, when waking from such
sleep, no normal consciousness remained of what the soul had enjoyed. Her
physical brain had not been able to share the experiences of the soul.
Seven months after her passing she again alluded to this experience:
is difficult to realise I have been here so long a time, it seems no more than a
few weeks; for there is so much to do, to see, and to learn. I am glad to have
known before my passing something about this life and the possibilities of
communication with you. Before finally leaving earth I seemed to be dreaming,
and yet it was not wholly a dream. It seemed as if I had come here before the
final separation from my physical body. I was only partly conscious towards the
last, only half within the body; for my soul was already freeing itself. Nor did
it seem wholly strange to me when I found myself here. I must have frequently
come during sleep; for I could now remember that I had been here previously."
following account of death and awakening was given by one whom I had known for
many years, and who had passed her last hours in unconsciousness. To those who
were watching her it seemed as if body and mind were in extreme discomfort, and
only a few isolated sentences, uttered amid the ramblings of delirium, hinted at
the experience which the soul was then enjoying. I had been told of these hints
- references to seeing her parents - and so took occasion to inquire, during her
first communication with me, whether in her last hours on earth she had seen the
friends who had gone before. She replied:
ask if I saw anyone before passing. I seemed lifted above the usual things and
surroundings, and I had a dream or vision, I do not know what you would call it.
It seemed at the time like a very wonderful, happy and peaceful dream, in which
I was with, not only those who had passed over recently, but with father and
mother and many relations whom I had not seen for a long, long time. Now you
ask: Did I see them? Yes, I saw them, though not with physical sight, but I saw
them. They were as satisfactory to me, as clear and distinct, as anything I had
ever seen in my ordinary earth life.
"Now I was not conscious of any change, or anything abrupt, but from that very
happy dream I seemed to pass into a peaceful sleep, and I think I emerged into a
more or less conscious state, now and again, because I seemed occasionally aware
that there were people whom I knew and loved who were near me, and taking care
of me, and I was quite content to let it be so.
"I hear now that I slept for three or four days. But when I woke, completely
awoke, I felt refreshed, and so much younger and better in every way than I had
felt for many years...
And now, here we are all together again, all the people I used to know and love;
all are here at their best, best time, best health, best everything..."
get a glimpse from a slightly different angle in the experience of G. M., who
had been a life-long friend of my father and who was welcomed by him on his
passing. My father and sister, in describing his awakening, said:
has been rather surprised to find how extremely natural it all is here. At first
he could scarcely realise it, but on the whole it has been a great relief to
him. It is intensely interesting to welcome people like G. M.; for, beside the
pleasure of having them with us, there is the extraordinary interest of
observing their surprise on awakening. They always exhibit relief at finding
themselves in a tangible world. Many people fear death owing to an idea that
they are about to exchange the tangible for the intangible. It is not fear of
finding themselves in a bad place, but rather a dread of the unaccustomed. In
this case, G. M. was particularly pleased to find tangible things and people
around him, and scope for activity."
weeks later G. M. was again spoken of:
M. is getting on remarkably well and quickly picking up the new conditions. He
is most interested in everything. He has now ceased to question the reality of
what he sees around him. At first, he was inclined to say, 'Well, what I see
cannot be really present.' But after a short while he had to admit that so many
different things could not exist merely in his imagination, and that the most
vivid dream could not go on so long. He tells us that, having now relinquished
that mental attitude, he feels pleased and enthusiastic about everything, and
insatiable in his desire to see and know more. He says that again and again he
stops to ask himself, 'Why did we not know this while on earth?'"
Expressed concisely, and omitting personal details, the usual testimony of those
who, in these communications allude to their passing, is as follows:
awakening from unconsciousness I felt free from pain, quite strong, and full of
gladness. It was a great relief to know that death was past. My new-found
happiness was increased by the sight of old friends who gathered around and who
gave me welcome. I then wished to return and see those left behind; after some
little time I was able to do this."
collective testimony of those speaking from the next life is remarkably
consistent. It is frequently intermingled with convincing proofs of the
speaker's identity; I am therefore left without a doubt that these descriptions
represent, so far as language makes possible, the actual experience of death.
"Life Beyond Death with Evidence. Part 1" by Charles Drayton Thomas
(London: Psychic Book Club, 1928).